Being Happy at Work Matters by Annie McKee

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To be fully engaged and happy, virtually everyone tells us they want three things:

1. A meaningful vision of the future: When people talked with our research team about what was working or not in their organizations, and what helped or hindered them the most, they talked about vision. People want to be able to see the future and know how they fit in.

And, as we know from our work with Richard Boyatzis on intentional change, people learn and change when they have a personal vision that is linked to an organizational vision. Sadly, far too many leaders don’t paint a very compelling vision of the future, they don’t try to link it to people’s personal visions, and they don’t communicate well. And they lose people as a result.

2. A sense of purpose: People want to feel as if their work matters, and that their contributions help to achieve something really important. And except for those at the tippy top, shareholder value isn’t a meaningful goal that excites and engages them. They want to know that they — and their organizations — are doing something big that matters to other people.

3. Great relationships: We know that peoplejoin an organization and leave a boss. A dissonant relationship with one’s boss is downright painful. So too are bad relationships with colleagues. Leaders, managers, and employees have all told us that close, trusting and supportive relationships are hugely important to their state of mind — and their willingness contribute to a team.

Added up, brain science and our organizational research are in fact debunking the old myths: emotions matter a lot at work. Happiness is important. To be fully engaged, people need vision, meaning, purpose, and resonant relationships.

Read the rest here:  https://hbr.org/2014/11/being-happy-at-work-matters

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The Golden Platter

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When does opportunity show up?

When you least expect it? Do you make it happen? Yes.

I’ve worked with new managers and upcoming leaders for years. Many times I hear “when will it be my turn to do ______?” I’ve never been able to predict when a “newbie” can get to the next level.

But what I have been able to do is this. I always encourage them to keep their eyes open for opportunities – I call them opportunities on golden platters. Those moments when you can step up, take charge, show some leadership, get results, and get noticed.

Just the other day, an up and coming leader met with me and one of my department’s managers. We shared with her she had the opportunity to fill in for another team member – a new area of challenge and learning. She was excited. I told her that this was her opportunity handed to her on the golden platter. We would provide additional training and support. What she did with it was her responsibility. She smiled and let us know she was ready (and thanked us for it).

She took off and has excelled.

What opportunity is facing you right now? You don’t think you have any opportunities? Think again…

* Is there a project team you can volunteer for? You’ll learn a lot about your company and/or a process. You’ll network with other team members. That is valuable time spent!
* Are you leading your team in results? If you are not performing in what is expected, don’t expect advancement. If you aren’t hitting your numbers, you are missing your primary opportunity. Yes, that IS your job.
* Does your company offer online learning? Take advantage of this and build your knowledge and put it into practice as soon as possible.
* Are you a trusted resource on your team, in your department or company? Helping and intentionally collaborating with others is a great opportunity to show how you align your skills, talents, spirit, and heart with your company’s culture.
* Volunteer. Be a great corporate citizen and a giver in your community.

You can make your own opportunities. You can also be prepared to step up and seize golden opportunities when they are presented.

7 Ways to Help You Finish Any Project by Dr. Jeremy Statton

Are you good at starting something new, but struggle to finish? If you are like me, you develop incredible plans. Big ideas. Remarkable dreams. But your story seems the same.

It’s a great place to begin, but it’s not enough. The story you tell isn’t the one you start. It’s the one you finish.

The Tunnel of Awesome

One summer my next door  neighbor and I decided to build a tunnel in our back yards. His dad had given him an “army shovel” and we decided to put it to good use.

An army shovel is basically a large spade with a short handle on it. The only thing I could imagine it being used for is digging latrines. To us it was perfect, probably because it was the only tool we had.

His parents typically grew a vegetable garden every summer, but for some reason they didn’t that year. After putting our 8 year old brains together, we hatched a plan. We would dig two gigantic holes, one on each side of the garden, and then connect them underground. We were gong to build a tunnel.

I know what you are thinking. Awesome, right? Best summer ever, right?

Wrong. Our plan was incredible, but we didn’t finish.

A Dying Dream

We began what felt like the most important project of our lives taking turns digging with our much-too-small shovel. You can imagine how excited we were as we watched the hole get deeper and the pile of dirt grow larger. Every five minutes we would pause just to give each other a chest bump.

By lunchtime we were beginning to grow tired, and before dinner we quit. I don’t remember making a decision to stop. It just happened. With each scoop of dirt, the amount of change that took place seemed to grow less and less. As our initial enthusiasm wore off, the work became more difficult. We stopped caring and we gave up.

And we did what so many people do, we moved on to the next big thing.

It was the first of many “incredible projects that would die without being completed.

How to Become a Finisher

When we start something new we often begin with an incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm. There is nothing better than that moment when we stand on a bare patch of dirt with an undersized shovel in hand, imagining the tunnel of awesome.

Then the work becomes hard. We are distracted by glasses of lemonade and plates of cookies and Bugs Bunny cartoons. We make excuses, like not having a bigger shovel or even a backhoe. We blame our friend for having a stupid idea.  And we quit.

Starting projects without finishing doesn’t change our story. But every project has what Seth Godin calls The Dip, and is difficult to see through to the end.

Here are 7 ways to help you go from being a dreamer to a finisher.

1. Vision. Define where you are headed and why you are doing it. When the work becomes tough, use your vision as a reminder.

2. Discernment. Not every project is worth pursuing. It’s okay to quit the ones that are not worth pursuing, but be careful not to quit the ones worth pursuing.

3. Share your vision. The expectations of others can be a powerful motivator. Just imagine the peer pressure if I had told kids at school about my summer project.

4. Have the proper tools. Digging a tunnel with a spade was never a good idea. Don’t frustrate yourself by not being adequately prepared. Find the correct tools and people to help you with your dream.

5. Deadlines. Give your project a time-frame. Instead of trying to meet one big deadline for the end of the project, create smaller ones that you have to keep along the way.

6. Rewards. Everyone enjoys a present. Build a reward system into your plan. Each time you accomplish a step towards finishing, give yourself and your team a little bonus.

7. Display Accomplishments. Show off what you have done. Let others see the fruit of your labors. Let your team be encouraged by the visible evidence of progress. Having something to show for your work will help you to keep your hand to the shovel.

Any work that is worth doing will be hard. Unfortunately too many give up just before they start to see the benefits of their effort. Find ways to help yourself go from being a starter to a finisher.

How do you stay motivated?

Dr. Jeremy Statton is an Orthopedic surgeon, a small business owner, and a writer. Follow his blog at http://jeremystatton.com/

Fresh Perspective on Familiar Work

Perhaps you’ve been the manager in your department/store/division for years.  You know your business (so you think) inside and out.  You are very familiar with the internal processes you need to complete.  You’ve trained staff and perhaps now you have mentors training other staff members.  You’re comfortable.

But you still need to grow your part of the business.  There is a lot to be said for this type of legacy and experience.  A lot of obstacles are clearly seen and avoided or addressed and by-passed.  But is there something you might be missing that would help you grow your piece of your company’s pie?

Start looking at your team’s work as if you were brand new to the department.  If this were the case, what could you do to “get up to speed”?

Observe:

  • Spend time with each team member and observe them doing their jobs.
  • Ask them the purpose behind their work.
  • How does it fit in with the other team members?
  • How does it grow revenue or reduce waste?
  • Do they know?  Ask them!
  • How does your team view the company and its mission and goals?

Get the Perspective:

  • View all processes that your team is responsible for from the customer’s perspective – both external and internal customers.
  • Maybe your team has “always done it that way”, but “that way” was no longer relevant.
  • How are daily tasks and processes making it easier for your customers to do business with your team?
  • Is your team making it easy for other departments to do business with them?  Becoming a value resource both inside and outside of your organization is critical to your personal success as well as the success of your team and company.

Review Procedures:

  • If a procedure no longer makes sense, change it.
  • If it is no longer compliant, you have to change it.

A fresh perspective cannot be gained without stepping out of your routine and viewing your work through a different lens.  By changing your perspective, you just might change your results…all for the better!